The Peoria Area World Affairs Council operates in the heart of downstate Illinois, a metro area of around a quarter of a million people centered in the tri-county area that includes Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties in Central Illinois.
Peoria is where PAWAC lives. The Peoria area has a long history of strong community support for nonprofits and civic groups from both business and individuals. We are grateful to be part of such a community.
With more than a half-century of history locally, the World Affairs Council is a valuable part of the civic landscape. The Council helps to strengthen other local institutions through collaboration, coordination, and cooperation--just as the Council itself benefits from the presence of strong civil society in the region.
PAWAC is fortunate to fulfill a unique niche among these groups--not merely an education organization, but also a group with convening power to enable collaboration among other community groups and internationally-minded stakeholders.
Examples of collaborations between PAWAC and other institutions in the area:
- Bradley University has been a valued partner for decades, and PAWAC benefits the university in several ways:
- Bradley’s Global Scholar program is enriched through program offerings, mentorship, and coordination with PAWAC speakers and staff.
- PAWAC regularly collaborates with the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship.
- PAWAC sponsors distinguished speakers and makes them available to campus departments and groups at no charge to the university. The Institute for International Studies and PAWAC share common interests.
- Most PAWAC programs held on campus are open to students at no charge.
- PAWAC offers several internships a year to Bradley students. Every year, PAWAC enables a group of these interns to be part of the national conference in Washington, D.C., where they get to attend specialized programming, network with ambassadors and other high-level international relations professionals, visit think tanks, and make connections with a cohort of like-minded students across the country.
- PAWAC regularly contributes instructors and courses on international affairs and global issues to the local OLLI chapter. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) is for people over 50 who wish to keep active, learn regularly, and engage with important issues in the world. The OLLI chapter at Bradley University is one of the strongest chapters in the country. Both organizations benefit from strong cross-listed programming and membership events.
Great Decisions is one example of content that PAWAC brings for the benefit of both our own membership and OLLI’s as a cross-listed program. Great Decisions from WACA partner, the Foreign Policy Association, is America’s largest discussion series on world affairs, dating back to 1954.
- High School Outreach is crucial to PAWAC’s mission of bringing the world to Central Illinois. Not only are students from area high schools welcome at all events, but the Council also offers specialized programming for 9th through 12th grade students
- International Scholastic Bowl – PAWAC sponsors the only event of its kind in the area.
- Academic WorldQuest – The AWQ national competition through WACA offers a team of four a chance to visit embassies and think tanks when they compete in the nation’s capital.
- Summer Institute
- diplomacy simulations
- PAWAC’s Book Club meets in conjunction with the Peoria Public Library system and focuses on nonfiction books about foreign policy, geopolitics, and global issues. Occasionally authors address the book club.
- The School of Culinary Arts at Illinois Central College offers a state of the art industrial kitchen facilities on their North Campus. Each year, the Culinary Arts department and the World Affairs Council team up for “Taste of the World” dinners. Student chefs research and prepare authentic dishes from a different country or regional tradition. ICC’s Fulbright Scholars in Residence give presentations after the dinner. It’s one of the most popular events of the year.
- The Peoria Riverfront Museum hosts PAWAC’s International Film Festival each year at their giant screen movie theater. The museum hosts the annual membership reception and meeting each August as well. Distinguished guests such as ambassadors are among the moderators for the film screenings at PRM.
- The Council recently began collaborating with the East Bluff Community Center on projects for area youth. PAWAC provides geography books and children’s atlases for the EBCC’s Little Free Library.
- PAWAC is frequently asked to contribute content related to Peoria’s connection to the larger world to Peoria Magazine, the area’s leading monthly publisher of local content. Please see our Press page for individual stories.